Here are some of the fines and fees that are increasing with the new city budget

The city has an established charge for almost anything you can think of: Black and white printed public records from the city manager’s office? That’ll cost you 20 cents per page.

Is it your turn to host a block party? The application will cost you $100 plus $42 per hour of staff monitoring. Want to play nine holes of foot golf on a weekday? That’ll be $12 per person.

While many fees have been set for some time, and others like the fee to remove a boot from a vehicle wheel—the city no longer does this—are being removed, others are going up. With the passage of the Long Beach 2020 fiscal budget next week now a formality, here’s a look at some of the fees, fines and citations that are changing in the coming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Passports:  Didn’t know you could process a passport application at the City Clerk’s office? Well, you can, but it’s going to be a little more expensive this year. The city is raising its application fee from $25 to $35. The increase is being made to keep the City Clerk’s office aligned with fees charged by the U.S. Department of State, according to a city memo.

Short-term rentals: The City Council is expected to consider a short-term rental ordinance this fall to decide whether residents will be allowed to rent rooms or entire homes in the city through websites like AirBnb. While the short-term rentals are not technically legal in the city, they already exist. The city is moving to regulate them, and a new fee of $250 per application will be charged.

Parking: The city has looked to parking fees in the past to help balance its budget, and this year is no exception. In 2018 the city raised fees by $10. This year it will do the same.

The city has 51 different categories of parking citations. The lowest bracket, which includes parking the wrong way, driving without a current registration tag, parking too far from a curb or not parking within lines, will cost you $65 next year.

Parking at a painted curb, staying in the same space for over 72 hours and exceeding the time limit on parking meters will now cost $69.

The city’s most expensive parking ticket is $360, the fine assessed for illegally parking in a disabled parking space.

The cost for being parked on the wrong side of the street on street sweeping days was increased to $70, and is estimated to generate about $918,000 for the city next year. It is the single largest source of parking related citation revenue and makes up about 60% of expected money to be generated parking citations next year.

Tree trimming: The city’s Public Works Department schedules city-owned trees for trimming. If residents want trees on or near their property trimmed outside of that schedule, the city charges a fee, which is now $105. That fee had remained unchanged since 2014, after the City Council’s vote to set service charges at the cost of recovery; the charge, however, has now more than doubled to $213 per tree.

Water rates: A 12% increase in the cost of water was approved this week by the City Council. It will mark the second time in a year that rates have increased, meaning that the cost of water has jumped by about 20% since 2018.

Part of what made this possible was Long Beach voters’ approval of Measure M last June, which changed the city’s charter and formalized the city’s practice of transferring excess fees it charges to the water department to access water and sewer lines into the general fund. Rates increased by 7.2% last year and will go up 12% starting Oct. 1.

Over 1,400 protests letters were submitted to the Long Beach Water Board, which was about 44,000 letters short of being able to block the proposed rate increases.

Electronic extraction fee: When Senate Bill 1421 and Assembly Bill 748 went into effect this year, police departments across the state found themselves having to abide by new transparency laws requiring them to turn over decades of records and quickly release body camera footage and other video or audio recordings.

The Long Beach Police Department for years has tried to identify a body-worn camera company that it deemed acceptable, but it also has warned that storing the footage, and eventually editing it to release to the public in the event of a public records request, would be very expensive.

The electronic extraction fee seeks to charge “the actual cost associated with extracting exempt material from police video recordings and other audio or video files” associated with such requests. Essentially, they want to charge for making digital redactions. While there is no dollar figure attached to the new fee request, the cost to acquire a recording could become very expensive depending on the amount of editing required.

In a memo sent last month from LBPD Chief Robert Luna to the city managers office, Luna said that it took one officer 80 hours to process a request regarding a 2017 officer involved shooting that included 800 pages of investigative reports, 15 minutes of audio recordings an 47 minutes of body worn camera/surveillance footage.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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